The Killzone: Mercenary multiplayer beta is only two days away from opening up to PS Plus subscribers, meaning would-be Vita recruits only have 48 hours to prepare for the latest online battlefield set in the Killzone universe. Thankfully, the folks at Guerrilla Cambridge have got you covered.

By now, our readers should already be familiar with Killzone: Mercenary. We took the online multiplayer for a test drive at E3 and dove into a level of the single player campaign just last month. I walked away from both experiences feeling pretty dang optimistic. Vita fans have been clamoring for a solid FPS on the portable console, and it looks like KM might just answer the call.

The controls were solid, the graphics were lovely and the action was fierce. More importantly, Mercenary feels like a legitimate Killzone game. It looks, sounds and plays like its console siblings.

Looking back, I'd say that the main thing that separates Mercenary from the console iterations is that it feels a bit more methodical. There are several new systems at work that allow the player to more carefully plan out their attack and equip their merc with the gear they want to use to get the job done. There's intel to pick up or squeeze out of officers peppered throughout the level, meaning you'll want to explore more. There are multiple paths available at times and, for the most part, encounters felt more like shooting puzzles than just big, all-out warzones.

In other words, Mercenary moves a bit slower, but it's a good, thoughtful kind of slow. Also, there's always a very good chance that you're going to botch a stealthy attack or push a button that's going to bring the cavalry running, so you can expect plenty of those massive shootouts you're used to in modern FPS games.

But now the multiplayer beta is primed to open up to the masses in order for Guerilla Cambridge to stress test their servers and squash a few last minute bugs before the game's mid-September launch. This Tuesday, Aug. 20, anyone with a PS Plus account is being invited to jump into an online map and see for themselves what Mercenary has to offer. The following week, on Aug. 27, the beta will finally open up to everyone else.

If you need to kill time between now and then or simply want an edge over the competition, you can check out GC's latest PS Blog post discussing what players will be able to experience once the open beta goes live.

The prep post covers just about everything you'll need to know before getting started, including a brief rundown of online and offline systems, as well as a brief tutorial on the Valor System. Basically, players are given a card (2-Ace) that represents how well they played during the past day. If they get dropped on the battlefield, their card will be available for pick-up, giving the player who snagged it a monetary boost.

And for those of you who are still curious about how the game plays on the Vita, there's even a brief tutorial on the controls, as well as the online VAN-Guard capsules, which crash into online maps and grant a player a beefed up weapon from time to time.

So there you have it. Read the post, get locked and loaded, and prepare for the upcoming Killzone: Mercenary open beta.

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